Abby Finkenauer Nabs Important Laborers Endorsement

State Representative Abby Finkenauer added another key group to her list of supporters in Democrats’ 1st District primary this week. The Great Plains Laborers have endorsed Finkenauer, making them the seventh labor union to support her in her bid to take on Republican Congressman Rod Blum. “Having grown up in a union home, Abby knows that building a fair and thriving economy means defending the rights of workers,” said Danny Hemminger, business manager and secretary-treasurer of LIUNA Local 43. “From day one in the state house, Abby has stood up to corporate special interests and fought for hard-working Iowa families. […]

An Iowa Politics Primer Guide For Students

School has been back in session across Iowa for college and high school students for a few weeks now. While Donald Trump is certainly a constant topic of discussion, important Iowa campaigns are well underway for governor, Congress, the Iowa Legislature and other statewide offices. Starting Line thought it’d be helpful to put together a simple primer guide all in one place for those races and the overall dynamics of Iowa politics to help students who want to get a good baseline knowledge of what’s happening. Many politically-engaged students will already know this information. But perhaps they have out-of-state friends […]

Army Veteran George Ramsey Sees 1st District Race As Patriotic Pursuit

To Cedar Rapid’s George Ramsey III, running for Iowa’s 1st Congressional District is an extension of the service to country he pursued in his recently-ended military career. Ramsey spent 31 years in military service before retiring in 2016, and for much of this summer he’s been traveling around Northeast Iowa in preparation for a congressional campaign, which he plans to kick off in early September. During those trips, he’s encountered a lot of Iowans frustrated not with a single issue, but with the entire political system. “I’m tired of all the rhetoric,” Ramsey recalled one man telling him during a […]

Turned Down By Rod Blum, 1st District Voters Meet With Democratic Challengers

Constituents in Iowa’s 1st District couldn’t get an in-person meeting scheduled with their two-term Republican Congressman Rod Blum this summer despite repeated attempts for months. So they set up meetings with the next best thing: the four Democrats running to replace Blum in 2018. The candidates in the 1st District Democratic primary – Abby Finkenauer, Thomas Heckroth, George Ramsey and Courtney Rowe – have all set up “office hours” to sit down with Indivisible members to let voters’ concerns be heard. From now through the end of September, each will meet at the Blue Strawberry coffee shop in downtown Cedar […]

1st District Residents Detail Frustration With Trying To Meet Rod Blum

A guest post from Cindy Garlock, a 1st District resident, who has been trying to set up a meeting with Congressman Rod Blum. The November election left many of us in shock. In response to the Republican sweep of the federal and state government, a group of concerned Cedar Rapids citizens banded together to provide support to each other, but more importantly, to come up with ways to make our voices be heard in a chaotic political environment. A group of folks who were brought together through Indivisible began weekly meetings at a Cedar Rapids coffee shop in early February. […]

Iowa Starting Line Poll For Iowa Governor, 1st And 3rd Districts

We’re nearing the end of the announcement phase for most key races in Iowa for 2018. At this point most of the announced or exploring or “considering it” candidates are known, so I thought it’d be a good time to kick off a series of Starting Line polls. Throughout this year and next, we’ll run polls once or twice a month on various races, issues and random fun Iowa politics stuff. Share these posts with your friends and encourage them to vote! And if you want to make sure you hear about each new Starting Line poll, sign up for […]

A Look At Thomas Heckroth And His 1st District Run

Thomas Heckroth has a constant reminder of his small-town roots at home: his goldendoodle puppy, “Waverly,” named after the Bremer County town he grew up in. Back in 2006 he knocked doors in that county and nearby ones for his father’s successful run for state senate. Now he’s back in Iowa, following ten years out of the state for school and working in Tom Harkin’s office and in the private sector in New York, to run for Congress in Iowa’s 1st District. “Serving the community and your country has been in my family for a long time,” Heckroth explained to […]

Everyone Is Running For Everything In Iowa In 2018

Just as reliably as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, not a week goes by in Iowa politics without a new candidate running for this or that major office. Iowa Democrats have about 22 declared or strongly-considering candidates for governor and the three Republican-held congressional districts. The field for every race has continued to grow this summer, though we may be finally nearing the end of the announcement phase. It’s an interesting parallel to the huge, 17-candidate Republican presidential primary field in 2016. Out of power for a while now, there’s fewer influential power-brokers or […]

Abby Finkenauer Raises $155,000+ In Quarter For 1st District

State Representative Abby Finkenauer brought in an impressive fundraising haul for her first reporting quarter as a candidate for Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, a key swing seat that Democrats hope to retake in 2018. Her campaign told Starting Line they raised over $155,000 from over 550 donors, the majority of which were in Iowa, this quarter. Finkenauer, 28, a two-term Democratic state legislator from Dubuque, officially announced her candidacy back on May 3. The Northeast Iowa 1st District seat, which includes Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and Dubuque, has been heavily targeted by national and state Democrats since Republican Rod Blum won […]

EMILY’s List Endorses Abby Finkenauer In 1st District

State Representative Abby Finkenauer got a big boost in her quest to take on Republican Rod Blum in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District today. EMILY’s List, the major political advocacy group that helps elect pro-choice women, endorsed Finknauer today. “Abby’s record stands in stark contrast with a Trump ‘yes man’ like Rep. Rod Blum, who supported the catastrophic bill to take health care away from an estimated 23 million people and has called the investigation into Russian interference with the American election ‘political theatrics,’” said Stephanie Schriock, the president of EMILY’s List. “The working families of Iowa’s 1st Congressional District need […]